Team departs for Botswana
The cloud of uncertainty surrounding the Flames trip to Nigeria for Saturday’s swim-or-sink 2014 World Cup qualifier has been cleared as government has given its word to provide the K25 million (US$77 881) extra funding needed to meet the K40 million budget.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) chief executive officer Suzgo Nyirenda said government approved the request for extra funds on Friday and the team was expected to leave the country for Botswana at 11.55pm via Nairobi yesterday.
“I can confirm that all the logistics pertaining to the trip have been finalised. We have obtained visas, we have paid for air travel and government has assured to give us the rest on Monday to meet allowances and accommodation expenses.
“We are very thankful to government for always being there for us. Now what remains is for the team to deliver on the pitch in Nigeria,” said Nyirenda.
The Flames are scheduled to arrive in Botswana’s capital Gaborone this morning where they will be joined by foreign-based players tomorrow [Monday] ahead of Tuesday’s training game against the Zebras.
Meanwhile, an advanced team comprising the FAM CEO and accountant Christopher Mdolo left the country yesterday afternoon for Nigeria to ensure that everything is in place in Calabar.
“While we have an official assurance from our Nigerian counterparts, we do not want to be caught off guard pertaining to issues relating to security in the wake of the recent terrorist attacks.
“We also want to finalise accommodation arrangements and other necessities,” said Nyirenda.
In Botswana, the Flames will stay at Travel Lodge Hotel and it are expected to proceed to Nigeria on Wednesday.
The Flames, who are on second position of the Group F Africa qualifiers with seven points, trail the Super Eagles by two points and need nothing short of a win to qualify for the final phase of the global showcase qualifiers.